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Powell’s 18 leads No. 23 Seton Hall past Monmouth, 75-65

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Myles Powell scored 18 points and Angel Delgado added 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, leading No. 23 Seton Hall to an easy 75-65 victory over Monmouth in the NIT Tip-Off matchup Sunday.

Four Seton Hall players reached double figures in scoring, including Khadeen Carrington (14) and Michael Nzei (10).

Powell scored 13 of his points in the first half, when the Pirates (2-0) jumped out to a double-digit lead. He then scored his team’s first five points in the second half, as the Pirates pushed their lead to 53-34 with 18:11 remaining.

The two teams traded the lead six times in the first half, but then the Pirates pulled away in the closing minutes of the half, thanks to the perimeter prowess of Powell, who drained two consecutive 3-pointers to begin an 11-0 run to take a 37-25 lead with 4:30 left. Rodriguez capped the run with a trey of his own.

Powell had 13 points at the break and Delgado added 10. Deion Hammond paced the Hawks with 11 first half points and Micah Seaborn added 10. Hammond converted on all four of his attempts from the floor, including a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range at the break.

Deion Hammond scored 17 points and Micah Seaborn had 16 for Monmouth (1-1).

The Pirates forced 21 turnovers that aided in the victory.

DOUBLE TROUBLE

It was the 52nd time in Delgado’s Seton Hall career that he collected double figures in points and rebounds, the top figure in the nation. Delgado led the nation in rebounding last season, grabbing 13.1 per game. Delgado is the only active Division I player with more than 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.

EARLY RANKING

Seton Hall tipped off the new season with a national ranking for the first time since 2000-01, when the Pirates started the year at No. 10. The last time the Pirates were ranked was March 14, 2016.

YOUNG HAWKS

The Hawks have four true freshmen on their current roster in forward Melik Martin and guards George Papas, Marcus McClary and Deion Hammond.

THE BIG PICTURE

Seton Hall: The Pirates have never lost to the Hawks, winning all 13 matchups, In the last meeting, almost four years ago to the date, Nov. 18, 2013, the Pirates won 82-66, thanks to 27 points from Patrik Auda. The Pirates are the only Division I team with three returning 1,000-point scorers in Rodriguez, Delgado and Carrington.

Monmouth: The Hawks were coming off a thrilling 79-78 victory over Bucknell Friday night, thanks to two free throws from Seaborn with five seconds left. Seaborn had his first career double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

UP NEXT: The Pirates play host to Indiana Wednesday night as part of four home games in nine days. The Seton Hall-Indiana game is part of the Gavitt Tipoff series.

The Hawks remain on the road to face Lehigh Tuesday, as part of five straight road contests. Monmouth faces Virginia next Sunday in Charlottesville.

Ewing coaches Georgetown past Jacksonville 73-57 in debut

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Patrick Ewing led Georgetown to the pinnacle of college basketball, then had a Hall of Fame career in the NBA. His first game back at his alma mater as coach, though, provided him an entirely new experience.

“As a player, I never really got nervous,” Ewing said. “As a coach, I got nervous. The biggest difference is I’m counting on these guys. As a player, I’m counting on myself.”

Cheered loudly in his return to Georgetown, Ewing led the Hoyas to a 73-57 win over Jacksonville on Sunday in his sideline debut.

With playing rival Michael Jordan and fellow Georgetown alumni Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo and Otto Porter Jr. in the arena, along with his former New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy, Ewing began his first head coaching job at any level.

“I had a lot of friends here,” Ewing said. “It meant a lot to me, too, because they showed up to support me.”

It also was a sign of how deep Ewing’s influence runs at his alma mater more than three decades since he last played for the Hoyas.

“I always tell people I would not have been in the NBA if it wasn’t for Patrick Ewing,” Mutombo said. “He took Alonzo Mourning and I and told us what it takes to get to the next level. I told him I’m one phone call away. If I have to jump on a flight to D.C., I’ll be here.”

Spectators cheered when Ewing walked onto the floor for the first time, about 10 minutes before the opening tipoff. Moments later, Ewing was given an ovation when the spotlight fell on him as he was introduced after the Hoyas’ starters.

Jessie Govan led the way for the Hoyas (1-0) with 20 points and 15 rebounds, while Marcus Derrickson also scored 20.

“The whole team really wanted to get a win in his first game,” Govan said. “That was a real big goal of ours.”

JD Notae had 18 points for Jacksonville (0-2).

Ewing is the Hoyas’ career rebounding and blocks leader and ranks second in points. He led Georgetown to three Final Four appearances and the 1984 national championship under coach John Thompson Jr.

Thompson’s son, John Thompson III, was fired after consecutive losing seasons, the school’s first such skid since enduring three in a row in the early 1970s.

After his playing career, Ewing was an assistant coach in the NBA for 15 years, including a stint on Van Gundy’s staff in Houston.

“I think the biggest thing is you have to find your voice,” Van Gundy said. “He’s got his voice. He’s very commanding and demanding. The thing I think that is so critical is you can be demanding, but you have to be incredibly personable, which he is. . He’s very comfortable with who he is, and that’s a big step.”

BIG PICTURE

Jacksonville: The Dolphins completed a rough opening weekend that began with a 96-67 loss to UAB. They won’t face a high-major foe again until Dec. 22 at N.C. State. “I think it’s going to juice our practices a little bit because we’ve gone out and seen what the world has to offer,” Jacksonville coach Tony Jasick said.

Georgetown: The Hoyas held Jacksonville to 32.7 percent shooting, including just 23.3 percent in the first half. “We understand it’s the first game, but the way they’re playing, it’s just taking me back to the ’80s and ’90s when the old man (Thompson Jr.) was here,” Mutombo said.

UP NEXT

Jacksonville: The Dolphins meet North Carolina A&T in their home opener on Saturday.

Georgetown: The Hoyas continue their season-opening three-game homestand as Mount St. Mary’s visits Wednesday.

David Padgett survives first game as head coach for No. 16 Louisville

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Deng Adel finished with 20 points and freshman Jordan Nwora hit three threes and scored 10 points in a six-minute surge that gave No. 16 Louisville a 72-61 win over a scrappy George Mason team in David Padgett’s first game as the head coach of the Cardinals.

Another freshman, Darius Perry, chipped in with 17 points off the bench as the Cardinals, who were down by three at the half and 46-40 with nine minutes left, used a 12-0 run to spark a surge that saw them outscore the Patriots 32-15 over the course of the final 12 minutes.

It was a long way from being an auspicious start to Padgett’s tenure. Outside of Adel, the veterans struggled. Quentin Snider had 10 points and three assists, but he shot 4-for-11 from the floor and turned the ball over twice. V.J. King had some hype in the offseason, but he did not look like he approved much, if at all, from last season, while both Anas Mahmoud and Ray Spalding struggled to make an impact on the offensive end; their length in the lane, however, was as effective as always.

“I was really proud of our guys, we couldn’t throw it in the ocean to start the game, but we hung in there, relied on our defense at the end of the game,” Padgett said after the game.

And in the end, that’s what really matters with this performance.

The Cardinals, in what may be the toughest spot for any team in the country this season, survived a slow start to their first game without their Hall of Fame head coach and got out with a win. The play of their veterans will come around. Their freshmen weren’t overwhelmed by the moment. And Louisville will head into the first full week of the season with a 1-0 record to build on.

All things considered, that’s not a bad way to start the season.

David Padgett nervous as he makes debut for embattled Cardinals

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — David Padgett insists his nervousness debuting as Louisville’s acting coach is about wins and losses.

It’s not that simple. Padgett has had to deal with much more than just basketball.

He is replacing longtime coach Rick Pitino amid a national federal investigation into corruption in college basketball. The inquiry has cast a shadow over the Cardinals program.

Then there’s the scrutiny the former Pitino assistant faces as a first-time coach of one of the sport’s marquee programs heading into the No. 16 Cardinals’ season opener Sunday against George Mason.

The questions and attention won’t end even if the favored Cardinals beat the Patriots.

A loss, though, could raise more questions as to whether the 32-year-old is the right man to guide Louisville — even on an interim basis — as the university navigates its way through another scandal.

Padgett has tried to keep the focus on basketball, and the butterflies indicate he feels the pressure.

“Each day that goes by I get a little bit more nervous,” Padgett said Friday. “Now I’m nervous for the right reasons, and what I mean by that is it’s more win-loss nerves than I’ve-never-done-this-before nervous.

“I just want to make sure guys are ready to go. I know they will be. We’re getting there. I’m sure I’ll be pretty jittery, but as long as our guys are ready to go, that’s all that matters.”

In many respects, Padgett and the Cardinals have been getting ready since Sept. 29.

The 6-foot-11 former Louisville player was named acting coach on that date, three days after Louisville acknowledged it was under investigation. Pitino was placed on unpaid administrative leave earlier that tumultuous week before his firing Oct. 16 after 16 seasons on the Cardinals sideline.

Padgett and the Cardinals insist they have been focused on basketball to avoid being distracted by the investigation and the national attention it has generated. Two exhibition games have included growing pains of transition for the coach and players, and they concede it will be a work in progress.

But Louisville is eager to start the new chapter.

Senior Anas Mahmoud said the team has turned the negative into a positive.

“It’s been a great experience for us,” the 7-0 senior said of the preseason. “A lot of guys have never been here, and they’ve been surrounded by media, surrounded by all the stuff going on.

“Just going out there on the court and doing what you came here for gives you the drive to focus on basketball. We’re back on the right track.”

Mahmoud is among six returnees from a 25-9 squad that reached the NCAA tournament’s second round. Louisville not only must blend eight newcomers and fill an offensive void left by Donovan Mitchell’s departure to the NBA, but also must play the same tight defense Pitino’s teams were known for.

Padgett believes George Mason presents a good initial test for the Cardinals. The Patriots return three starters from a 20-14 team, including junior guards Otis Livingston II (14.3 points per game last season) and Jaire Grayer (11.4 PPG).

Louisville’s hope is that the nerves disappear quickly.

“They’re going to come in here ready to play,” Padgett said of George Mason. “We’re looking forward to it, looking forward to get going and get into that game routine.”

Kentucky lands commitment from five-star Keldon Johnson

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One day after missing out on the top recruit in the Class of 2018, Kentucky landed a five-star prospect of their own.

Keldon Johnson, a 6-foot-6 wing that is spending his senior season at Oak Hill Academy, announced on Saturday evening that he will be spending his college career playing for the Wildcats.

Johnson was one of the most impressive players on the EYBL circuit during the summer, turning himself into one of the nation’s most in-demand prospects. A top-15 prospect in the class, Johnson picked the Wildcats over Maryland, N.C. State and Texas.

This is the second commitment for Kentucky in the class, as they already landed point guard Immanuel Quickley, a top ten prospect in the class.

Kentucky is still in the mix for a number of elite prospects in the Class of 2018, including Zion Williamson, Moses Brown and Tyler Herro.

Vick leads No. 4 Kansas to 92-56 win over Tennessee State

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lagerald Vick scored 23 points, Svi Mykhailiuk added 15 and fourth-ranked Kansas routed Tennessee State 92-56 on Friday night in its lone tuneup before facing No. 5 Kentucky in the Champions Classic.

Devonte Graham added 10 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds for the short-handed Jayhawks, who played without five-star prospect Billy Preston. The touted freshman forward was suspended for the opener after he missed curfew Thursday night and failed to show up for class Friday.

That wasn’t the only message coach Bill Self sent, either. Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman lost his starting job to freshman Marcus Garrett after a lousy practice this week.

Newman still finished with 12 points off the bench as the hot-shooting Jayhawks won their 43rd straight home opener. Garrett added 10 points while 7-footer Udoka Azubuike, who missed most of last year with a wrist injury, contributed 13 points and six boards in his return.

Darreon Reddick had 20 points and Delano Spencer had 14 for the Tigers, who watched the longer, stronger Jayhawks use a 14-0 run in the opening minutes to build a 56-27 lead by halftime.

Kansas made its first nine shots and wound up shooting 60 percent for the game.

The Jayhawks got sloppy early in the second half, turning the ball over five times in a 5-minute span, and their seven-man rotation appeared to wear down. But their opponent from the Ohio Valley was still overmatched, unable to string together enough buckets to make a run.

That probably won’t be the case against the Wildcats on Tuesday night.

Kansas and Kentucky are playing the nightcap of the annual doubleheader in Chicago, a matchup of two of college basketball’s bluebloods. It should be an early barometer for teams with national championship aspirations, and an intimidating venue for Preston to make his collegiate debut.

The Wildcats overcame a sluggish start to beat Utah Valley in their opener Friday night.

BIG PICTURE

Tennessee State was overmatched in just about every facet, though the Tigers never gave up. That should serve them well not only against Texas and Purdue later in the non-conference season but when they open conference play in late December.

Kansas had a depth issue Friday night that should be somewhat assuaged later this season. Preston is due back next week, and Arizona State transfer Sam Cunliffe becomes eligible in December. But if injuries hit this season, the Jayhawks could require massive big minutes from a short bench.

UP NEXT

Tennessee State gets a substantially easier test next in NAIA member Reinhardt on Monday night.

Kansas heads to Chicago to face the No. 5 Wildcats, who won both previous meetings in the Champions Classic. They’ll take the floor after top-ranked Duke plays No. 2 Michigan State on Tuesday night.